Description: The striking Luna Moth is a large pale-green moth with a wingspan of about 11.5 centimeters (nearly four inches). Both males and females are entirely green with conspicuous “eye spots” on the lower wings meant to confuse predators. Similar to all moths, adult Luna Moths do not have mouths and consequently do not eat. Their sole purpose is to reproduce. The average life span of a Luna Moth is about a week.
Range: The Luna Moth is found throughout eastern Canada and the United States, west to the Great Plains. They are found south to Northern Mexico.
Life Cycle: Depending on location, Luna Moths produce one, two, or three generations per year. One generation counts as a complete life cycle of the moth, from egg to adult. Hence, in southern locations, up to three cycles of Luna Moths may occur, whereas in northern locales only one may occur. Female moths lay up to 300 eggs on the underside of leaves. When the larva hatches, individual caterpillars may wander from branch to branch before settling on a leaf to consume. Luna Moths progress through five instars (moltings) before forming a chrysalis. The forming moth is very active inside the chrysalis and will wiggle and shake when disturbed. Pupation (the duration of the time the caterpillar is in metamorphosis inside the chrysalis) takes about two weeks. The adult moth will emerge in the morning and cannot fly for about two hours.
Discovering a Luna Moth